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13. December 2018


Following a beta release in September, Unity have just released the full version of Unity 2018.3.  The marquee feature of Unity 2018.3 is the new ability to nest prefabs inside other prefabs which will give game developers massive flexibility in how they structure and organize their games and is a feature developers have been asking for since Unity was first released!  Unity 2018.3 also contains major new features to the terrain system which we showcased in this earlier video.  A new GPU powered particle system called Visual Effect Graph is also available in preview format, along with a new isometric tilemap support, HDRP & LWRP improvements, a new Visual Studio Code debugger plugin, improved package manager and settings windows plus much more.


Details of the release from the Unity blog:

Over the years, one of the features we’ve heard you requesting most often has been the ability to nest Prefabs. After conducting numerous interviews, usability tests and research at game jams, however, we found out that a lot of you also needed several other changes to the Prefab workflows. Therefore, we have been improving the whole system with a focus on reusability, control and user-friendliness.

The new Prefab workflows allow you to split up scenes and Prefabs on a granular level. They give you greater flexibility, increase your productivity and enable you to work confidently without worrying about making time-consuming errors.

Continuing our focus on workflow improvements, Unity 2018.3 now has unified Settings windows for Project Settings and Preferences. The new windows are dockable and searchable, which makes it much more convenient to quickly find and change settings.

The default scripting runtime is now .NET 4.x. The old .NET 3.5 runtime has been deprecated and support for it will soon be dropped. Projects that target the .NET 4.x scripting runtime will be able to use the open-source Roslyn compiler.

In this release, we also added a PhysX 3.4 upgrade that comes with improvements to stability and performance as well as support for multiple worlds and C# Job queries.

The world-building 2D Tilemap tool now enables you to build isometric Tilemaps, which makes it easier to create 2D projects such as strategy, tycoons and simulation games.

Unity 2018.3 also ships with an update to the Terrain system, which marks the beginning of a larger overhaul. In this update, our focus has been not only to set the foundation for further improvements with a few tweaks to the UI and tools but also to improve performance. We also added High-Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) and Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) support.

Unity 2018.3 includes a number of improvements to the HDRP (preview). This version adds preliminary support for VR and multisample anti-aliasing and improves support for PC, Mac, XBox One and PS4. The UI of various Inspectors of HDRP elements is now updated: Camera, Lights, Reflections Probe, and Material. Finally, we added a new lighting model, so you can author more complex materials.

We are also introducing the GPU Progressive Lightmapper in Preview for Windows and several improvements to lighting.

Our new Visual Effect Graph, which ships in Preview as a package, enables you to create beautiful effects using a node-based system that is both easy to use and flexible. Inspired by leading VFX software tools for films, it empowers artists to create stand-out visual effects for games and other projects with millions of particles running on the GPU.

Unity 2018.3 also includes several new features for the existing Particle System. For example, there are Particle Meshes that can now be flipped just like with billboards, Particle Lights that now support Real-time Global Illumination, and the new Ringbuffer Mode, which makes it easier to create persistent effects like footprints or bullet holes by keeping particles visible after their lifetime expires and until they are replaced.

Mobile improvements include Dynamic Resolution Scaling support for Vulkan and Metal, Android AppBundle generation support and faster APK package build times on Android with APKzlib.

For XR, we added Native Support for Daydream Controllers, Haptics APIs for VR controllers, and updates to the AR Foundation as well as XR Performance Testing.

You can read the complete release notes for more details of what is contained in the 2018.3 release.


The following video takes a hands-on and more in-depth look at Unity 2018.3.

GameDev News


12. December 2018


Fresh on the heels of releasing their new online store leverage the technologies they developed creating Fortnite, Epic Games have announced plans for a cross-platform online multiplayer game service, that is game engine agnostic and completely free for developers!  Rolling out in stages, it will start life as a C SDK, with Unreal and Unity (yes, that Unity) game engine implementations starting with cloud saves and online storage and adding new features such as logins, achievements, friends lists, voice communications and more as time goes on.

Details of the roll out strategy from the Unreal blog:

The service launch will begin with a C SDK encapsulating our online services, together with Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. We’ll start with a core set of features and expand over time. Specifically:

  • Cross-Platform Login, Friends, Presence, Profile, and Entitlements (coming Q2-Q3 2019 to PC, other platforms throughout 2019): Provides the core functionality for persistently recognizing players across multiple sessions and devices; identifying friends; and managing free and paid item entitlements. This will support all 7 major platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch) to the full extent each platform allows per-title.
  • PC/Mac Overlay API (coming Q3 2019): Provides a user interface for login, friends, and other features in a game-agnostic, engine-agnostic way.
  • Cross-Platform Voice Comms (coming Q3 2019 to all platforms): Epic is building a new in-game voice communications service supporting all platforms, all stores, and all engines, which will be available for free. (For developers needing an immediately-available voice solution, check out Discord, Vivox, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, and Mumble.)
  • Cross-Platform Parties and Matchmaking (coming Q3-4 2019 to all platforms)
  • Cross-Platform Data Storage, Cloud-Saved Games (coming Q2 2019)
  • Cross-Platform Achievements and Trophies (coming Q3 2019)


The services described above are just our first steps. As you can see from our game and engine efforts, we’re also working on further support for user-generated content, enhanced social features, anti-cheat, and more.


Simply put, there has to be a catch here, but I cannot determine exactly what it is.  This could potentially be a massive opportunity for game developers looking to support multiplayer in their game and a huge shot across the bow for technology providers that make their living providing such services now for a fee!

GameDev News


27. November 2018


One of the biggest challenges for game developers working with Unity is dealing with the garbage collection.  The current system they use, Boehm–Demers–Weiser garbage collector drops everything when memory management occurs, which can lead to framerate slowdowns until the garbage collector is done.  In an attempt to improve this situation, Unity have implemented Incremental Garbage collection in the most current alpha of Unity 2019.1.  Essentially Unity attempts to split memory collection across multiple frames to minimize the impact over all to performance.

Details from the Unity blog:

Enter Incremental Garbage Collection. With Incremental GC, we still use the same Boehm–Demers–Weiser GC, but we run it in an incremental mode, which allows it to split its work into multiple slices. So instead of having a single long interruption of your program’s execution to allow the GC to do its work, you can have multiple, much shorter interruptions. While this will not make the GC faster overall, it can significantly reduce the problem of GC spikes breaking the smoothness of the animation by distributing the workload over multiple frames.

There are however downsides to this approach including greater overhead and possible performance issues if your memory changes during collection.

If you enable incremental GC, the garbage collector will split up the garbage collection work across multiple operations, which can then be distributed across multiple frames. We hope that in most cases where GC spikes were an issue, this will mitigate the symptoms. But Unity content is extremely diverse and can behave in very different ways – and it’s likely that there are cases where incremental GC may not be beneficial.

Specifically, when incremental GC breaks up its work, the part which it breaks up is the marking phase, in which it scans all managed objects to find which other objects they reference, to track which objects are still in use. This assumes that most of the references between objects don’t change between slices of work. When they do change, the objects which have been changed need to be scanned again in the next iteration. This can cause a situation where incremental collection never finishes because it will always add more work to do – in this case, the GC will fall back to doing a full, non-incremental collection. It’s easy to create artificial test cases changing all the references all the time, where incremental GC will perform worse than non-incremental GC.

Also, when using incremental GC, Unity needs to generate additional code (known as write barriers) to inform the GC whenever a reference has changed (so the GC will know if it needs to rescan an object). This adds some overhead when changing references which can have a measurable performance impact in some managed code.

For more information on incremental garbage collection, including step by step instructions on how to enable it, be sure to check out the following video, also embedded below.

GameDev News Programming


5. November 2018


Launched at Unity Unite LA, there is an ongoing contest showcasing newer 2D features that have been added to the Unity game engine since Unity 2018 was released.  This includes new features like improved tilemap support, inverse kinematic animations, 2D animation improvements, cinemachine support, spriteshape and more.  Contest entries must:

  • be made using Unity 2018.1, Unity 2018.2, or Unity 2018.3 (beta) and highlights use of one of the following tools: 2D Animation, 2D IK, 2D Cinemachine, 2D Tilemaps (square, hexagons or isometric), 2D SpriteShape, 2D Pixel Perfect, or Vector Graphics. Assets from Asset store are allowed but not required but use must comply with these Rules;

  • be in a single language, ideally English or Japanese (in the case of non-English/Japanese submissions, Entry should focus on visual, non-verbal elements);

  • be your Team’s own original work;

  • not have been submitted previously in any promotion of any kind;

  • not contain material or content that:

  1. is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, pornographic, hateful, tortious, defamatory, or slanderous or libelous;

  2. promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual

  3. promotes discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age;

  4. promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco;

  5. violates or infringes another’s rights, including but not limited to rights of privacy, publicity, or their intellectual property rights;

  6. is inconsistent with the message, brand, or image of Unity, is unlawful; or

  7. is in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations of any jurisdiction in which the Entry is created.

Entries are judged on a 100pt scale using the following weighting:

  • up to 50 points will be awarded for quality of execution, interesting/fun gameplay and good usage of new 2D Unity tools;

  • up to 25 points will be awarded for documentation of your project; and

  • up to 25 points will be awarded for project creativity.


  • Prizes are as follows:

  • 1st Place Prize (highest scoring Entry) - $2000 in cash

  • 2nd Place Prize (second highest scoring Entry) - $1000 in cash

  • 3rd Place Prize (third highest scoring Entry) - $500 in cash

  • Special Mention Prize (Entry with most innovative editor tool) - $500 in cash


  • You can learn more about the contest here, while the legal details are available here.  When ready, you can submit your entry here.  The contest runs until December 16th, 2018.

    GameDev News


    2. November 2018


    It seems 2019 is almost upon us, and this is especially true if you are a Unity developer.  They just released Unity 2019.1a07, the first alpha release of next years edition of the Unity game engine.  Do be aware this release is marked as an alpha, which is even less stable then a beta release and simply should not be used in a production environment.  Unlike the first 2018.1 Unity release, 2019.1 isn’t a game changer, containing relatively minor improvements like a new short cut manager.

    Summary of the releases major features from the Unity forums:

    • New Keyboard Shortcut Manager configuration interface
    • More GPU Lightmapper Functionality:
      • Support for double sided GI flag on the materials
      • Support for shadow casting and receiving on meshes
    • Android: Added OpenGL ES 3.2 support
    • Graphics: Native rendering plugin support for Vulkan
    • Physics: Added methods to determine the closest point to a Collider2D

    The release also contains a large number of fixes and improvements typical to a new beta release.  You can read the full details of the 2019.1a release in the release notes available here.  If you are interested in checking out the alpha, you can download it using the most current version of the Unity Hub.  If you do not upgrade to the most current version, it will not show that newest releases.  If you are interested in learning more about this release, or seeing Unity 2019.1 in action, be sure to check out the video available here and embedded below.

    GameDev News


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